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instant naval armament ought to be adopted; one squadron for the Mediterranean; another for the Channel. The season is convenient, most of our trade being, as I take it, at home.
After speaking of a plan formed upon the ancient policy and practice of Great Britain, and of Europe; to which this is exactly conformable in every respect, with no deviation whatsoever, and which is, I conceive, much more strongly called for by the present circumstances than by any former, I must take notice of another which I fear, but cannot persuade myself to believe, is in agitation. This plan is grounded upon the very same view of things which is here stated, namely, the danger to all sovereigns, and old republicks, from the prevalence of French power and influence.
It is to form a congress of all the European powers, for the purpose of a general defensive alliance, the objects of which should be,
First, The recognition of this new republick, (which they well know is formed on the principles, and for the declared purpose of the destruction of all kings), and, whenever the heads of this new republick shall consent to release the royal captives, to make peace with them.
Secondly, To defend themselves with their joint. forces against the open aggressions or the secret practices, intrigues and writings, which are used to propagate the French principles.
It is easy to discover from whose shop this commodity comes. It is so perfectly absurd, that if that, or any thing like it, meets with a serious entertainment in any cabinet, I should think it the effect of what is called a judicial blindness, the certain forerunner of the destruction of all crowns and kingdoms.
An offensive alliance, in which union is preserved, by common efforts in common dangers, against a common active enemy, may preserve its consistency, and may produce, for a given time, some considerable effect; though this is not easy, and for any very long period, can hardly be expected. But a defensive alliance, formed of long discordant interests, with innumerable discussions existing, having no one pointed object to which it is directed, which is to be held together with an unremitted vigilance, as watchful in peace as in war, is so evidently impossible, is such a chimera, is so contrary to human nature, and the course of human affairs, that I am persuaded no person in his senses, except those whose country, religion and sovereign, are deposited in the French funds, could dream of it. There is not the slightest petty boundary suit, no difference between a family arrangement, no sort of misunderstanding, or cross purpose between the pride and etiquette of courts, that would not entirely disjoint this sort of alliance, and render it as futile in its effects, as it is feeble I in
in its principle. But when we consider that the main drift of that defensive alliance must be to prevent the operation of intrigue, mischievous doctrine, and evil example, in the success of unprovoked rebellion, regicide, and systematick assassination and massacre, the absurdity of such a scheme becomes quite lamentable. Open the communication with France, and the rest follows of course.
How far the interiour circumstances of this country support what is said with regard to its foreign politicks, must be left to better judgments. I am sure the French faction here is infinitely strengthened by the success of the assassins on the other side of the water. This evil in the heart of Europe must be extirpated from that center, or no part of the circumference can be free from the mischief which radiates from it, and which will spread circle beyond circle, in spite of all the little defensive precautions which can be employed against them.
I do not put my name to these hints submitted to the consideration of reflecting men. It is of too little importance to suppose the name of the writer could add any weight to the state of things contained in this paper. That state of things presses irresistibly on my judgment, and it lies, and has long lain, with a heavy weight upon my mind. I cannot think that what is done in France is beneficial to the human race. If it were, the
English constitution ought no more to stand against it than the ancient constitution of the kingdom in which the new system prevails. I thought it the duty of a man, not unconcerned for the publick, and who is a faithful subject to the king, respectfully to submit this state of facts at this new step in the progress of the French arms and politicks, to His Majesty, to his confidential servants, and to those persons who, though not in office, by their birth, their rank, their fortune, their character, and their reputation for wisdom, seem to me to have a large stake in the stability of the ancient order of things.
Bath, November 5, 1792.